A bill that would place the same restrictions on clinics serving pregnant women as those that regulate sex offenders led to calls for security as opponents of the measure sang in a fruitless protest against its passage. The Alabama House approved HB 301, which would require clinics that provide medical services such as abortion to be at least 2000 feet away from any K-8 school, during the closing hours of the legislative session. 2000 feet is the same boundary set by the state for sex offenders must keep from K-8 schools and other facilities that primarily serve children under twelve.
The Speaker of the Alabama House called for security twice as anti-abortion legislators rushed to pass bills that would force at least two clinics to move.
On the last day of the legislative session lawmakers had filibustered for much of the day over procedural issues. When business resumed, the Montgomery Advertiser reported, House Republicans skipped several bills in the queue to get to the abortion bills.
Members of the House Black Caucus, who argued that they were being "muzzled," sang "We Shall Overcome" in the chamber. The speaker said that they were being disruptive, and twice called for security. The bill passed 73-18, and joined a Senate bill that was passed in March.
By making the required distance 2,000 feet, two of the last remaining clinics in Alabama would be forced to either relocate or close. One of those clinics -- located in Huntsville -- was forced to move after a 2013 law that changed facilities requirements.
"Bill sponsor Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, has said his intention isn’t to limit the number of abortion clinics in the state, but he doesn’t think they should be across the street from a school “because they do tend to cause a certain amount of commotion on a regular basis," the Decatur Daily reported.
Sanford did not indicate if the "commotion" that affected children was caused by the patients entering and exiting the building, or whether it was due to the noise that protesters made when they tried to prevent women from exercising the right to privacy granted in 1973's Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Watch video, courtesy of Montgomery Advisor, below: